News Column

Barclays Calls for Banking 'Code of Conduct'

Sept. 26, 2012

Britain's high street banks have outlined plans to clean up the sector's act following a summer of scandal for the industry.

The major players - together with regulators and a raft of City institutions - have suggested wide-ranging reforms as part of a Government review of the culture and practices in the banking sector launched in the wake of the Libor rate-rigging furore.

In its submission to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, Barclays called for the launch of a chartered institute of bankers to oversee a professional code of conduct and register of banking professionals.

Those guilty of malpractice could be struck off the register, said Barclays.

It said: "A newly established and independent professional body, with an enhanced foundation of training and accreditation, plus a robust system for detection and correction of misdemeanours, would ensure that a high level of professional standards would be required right across the industry.

"Customers would be able to confirm that a person was a member of the register, as with other professions, and would have recourse to make a complaint to the governing body in the event that they are concerned with the conduct of that person."

Barclays also confirmed it was considering launching an externally run hotline for whistleblowers as part of an overhaul following the bank's rate-rigging scandal.

The embattled banking giant - which was fined Pounds 290m by UK and US regulators for attempting to manipulate the interbank lending rate - is reviewing its whistleblower procedures and is looking at plans to outsource its hotline to encourage employees to raise concerns.

In another blow to the future of free banking, Barclays said in its submission there needed to be further debate on the current account structure in the UK.

"Free-if-in-credit banking is popular with customers, but banking is not free and banks must make a return for shareholders," it said.

"The current model may not offer the best way to reconcile those differences."

Source: (C) 2012 Western Mail. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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